Thiru Estrada and David Villar hit big kicks in the Giants’ overtime win over the Colorado Rockies on Monday night.
In a season that is now meaningless, these hits hold a lot of meaning.
Estrada, who had three home runs in the 10th inning, claimed a 10-7 victory at home on Monday night. After two rounds in the ninth inning, his duo also began making RBI singles for Wilmer Flores.
Then the RBI team led by David Villar doubled into the right corner for two pieces in that ninth inning—recently activated Austin Slater scored from first base—tying the game and giving the Giants a comeback.
Villar’s big kick made up for two third base mistakes, which became common with his playing.
“I made four mistakes at Corse and won the game, which is a small miracle,” coach Gaby Kapler told reporters.
But they can both add Monday Night Shows on the board to their 2023 roster resumes. Front office forces them to ask questions. Is Villar ready to play a full role, or can the Giants choose to enter the final year of 37-year-old Evan Longoria’s contract? Could he and Estrada be cogs in the youth movement the Giants hope to bolster next season?
Estrada, 26, may be for sure – not just a promising player, but someone to build a squad sorely lacking in regular players. The 2.5 fWAR drives all Giants center players and sits his 13th behind Joc Pederson (22) and Flores (19) on the team. He’s hot on the core tracks, too—his nineteen stolen bases could lead the Giants to a more aggressive sporting approach in years to come.
“It looks like Theroux is getting better and better,” Kapler told reporters. “His plank discipline is improving and in the bigger moments he seems to lock himself in and focus. He has come out in a big way today.”
Each of the Giants’ remaining 15 games, whether it’s a win or a loss, will be a reminder of how tough this team will be in a year. But each one is another step closer to one of the organization’s most important seasons of the past decade. A proud organization hopes to salvage some soul and find the next group of players who can carry them through beyond the season – and perhaps get some rears in the seats, too.
That offseason got even more complicated hours before Game One when the Detroit Tigers stole Giants general manager Scott Harris to be the head of baseball’s operations. Farhan Zaidi, the Giants’ head of baseball operations, hired Harris after the 2019 season for his experience helping build the world’s championship-winning Chicago Cubs team. Replacing Harris will be on more pit Zaidi and will take over the front office tackle when the season ends on October 5.
Most importantly, they will need creativity in identifying a younger, more athletic and talented team for the coming year. Guys who can play alongside Estrada. Cole Waits, the first Zaidi and Harris to make the major leagues, flashed a promising fastball in his goalless eighth inning. He gave up one kick he earned in four matches, making his case part of the 2023 game.
The last 15 matches could be the last for some current players too, if the Giants are hoping to change their roster.
Mike Jastrzemski snatched a 0-for-13 slip with a singles run on the field to narrow Rocky’s deficit to 4-2 in the fourth inning. After his worst year as a giant, is Jastrzemsky’s future in San Francisco in flux? It’s a fan favorite of good seasons more than bad seasons, so the lack of tender seems unlikely though it is a possibility.
But some may have to go. The Giants have 9 players, including Yastrzemski, who are eligible to referee.
Jacob Gunness, one of those nine players, gave up six runs (five gained) in 4 innings 1/3 on Monday with a passer visibly influenced by Denver’s thin air. Coors Fields may have given him a little help, but he had a steady year at the end of the Giants’ rotation.
These last 15 games don’t mean much to the giants in the standings, but the team’s brass (now without a GM player) will be watching closely.
Carlos Rodon will start off until Friday as he falls ill with a blister and tears a nail on his right hand. This move shouldn’t reduce the amount of starts Rodon is scheduled for the remainder of the year, which should be about three more starts.
The Giants brought Slater back from the injured list and an option for Heliot Ramos ahead of Monday’s game in Colorado. Slater has been out of action since August 30 after he dislocated his pinky finger, which slipped to second base. Ramos’ call-up was to be short. The one-time leader has lost the Giants in a crucial development year, making 0.223 in 123 games for Triple-A Sacramento this year and 4 for 20 in nine big league games this year.